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Published: April 2010

Our Thirsty World

Our Thirsty World

The Burden of Thirst

If the millions of women who haul water long distances had a faucet by their door, whole societies could be transformed.

By Tina Rosenberg
Photograph By Lynn Johnson

Aylito Binayo's feet know the mountain. Even at four in the morning she can run down the rocks to the river by starlight alone and climb the steep mountain back up to her village with 50 pounds of water on her back. She has made this journey three times a day for nearly all her 25 years. So has every other woman in her village of Foro, in the Konso district of southwestern Ethiopia. Binayo dropped out of school when she was eight years old, in part because she had to help her mother fetch water from the Toiro River. The water is dirty and unsafe to drink; every year that the ongoing drought continues, the once mighty river grows more exhausted. But it is the only water Foro has ever had.

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